VA pension is a program that is administered by the Veterans Administration to provide monthly cash payments to veterans and their surviving spouses to pay for the cost of long term care. The monthly cash paid by VA Pension can be used to cover a wide variety of long term care costs, including independent living, assisted living, at home care, and nursing home care. Qualification for VA pension does not require a service connected injury but rather is available based on current medical needs of the veteran or surviving spouse. There are also incomes and asset qualifications to receive VA pension. For more information on the financial criteria, see the veterans benefits page.
Once the application for VA benefits is made, there is typically a wait between 6-18 months before the VA approves benefits. When benefits are approved, the VA pays a lump sum of benefits from the date of application, often referred to as “back pay.” If the VA believes that the person receiving VA pension is not capable of handling money, the VA will hold back the lump sum payments but will continue to pay the monthly pension benefits. To release the lump sum payments, the VA pension recipient must file for the VA to appoint a fiduciary. A fiduciary is someone the VA recipient trusts to receive the VA pension benefits on their behalf. Once a request to appoint a fiduciary is received, the VA will schedule an interview, typically over the phone, to confirm that the fiduciary will distribute the funds for the benefit of the VA recipient. The VA may require that the fiduciary keep the lump sum payments in a separate bank account until such are spent on the VA recipient.